Dagana Dzongkhag Tshogdu revokes Local Farm Road Guideline

Just a year since Dagana framed a local farm road guideline, the new set of regulations has now been done away with. The new guideline was framed to streamline farm road constructions in the district, but local leaders say it has posed more challenges. The guideline which was approved during last year’s Dzongkhag Tshogdu was revoked at this year’s DT held recently.

The local farm road guideline required new farm roads to be at least 500 meters long and to benefit a minimum of five households. It was stated at the meeting last year that these two criteria were missing in the national farm road guideline of 2019 and that it could lead to misuse of funds.

But local leaders say the guideline is causing inconveniences while planning for farm road construction in the rural pockets.

“Khebisa Gewog has a huge area but it is one of the least populated gewogs in Dagana. And settlement pattern is also very scattered. Therefore, complying with the guideline is difficult. We couldn’t construct farm roads for some communities in the last one year because of the existing guideline,” said Bali Raj Gurung, Khebisa Gup.

“It is important to construct a farm road if individuals have agricultural production from farmlands even if there are no permanent residents there. I feel amending the previous guideline will have a greater impact on our people,” said Pema Norbu Sherpa, Karmaling Gup.

“For instance, some households have orange orchards in one of the villages in Tashiding Gewog but there is no farm road connectivity. As a result, orange growers have to carry oranges on their backs and bring them till a road point like in the 90s. The Tashiding Gewog Administration has proposed a farm road construction to the place but the guideline has made it impossible,” said Bal Bdr. Rana, the Chairperson of Dagana Dzongkhag Tshogdu.

During the discussions, the Dagana Dzongda said reverting to the Farm Road Guidelines of 2019 would give the gewog offices some flexibility but urged them to assess the benefits a new farm road would have. He said there were some farm roads which were constructed despite not benefitting the people.

“We would love to construct farm roads for every household and individual if we have an adequate budget but we don’t have enough budget as of now. So this is why I have been telling our local leaders to prioritise the urgent ones. It seems some of our local leaders have pledged to construct farm roads for every household but it is not advisable,” said Tashi Tobgay, Dagana Dzongda.

The house after an in-depth deliberation revoked the local guideline and decided to stick only to the Farm Road Guidelines of 2019.

Pema Tshewang, Tsirang

Edited by Yeshi Gyaltshen

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